Office hours and academic advising can be online or in-person


One of the issues raised at the July 7 Faculty Assembly meeting is how faculty members are supposed to handle office hours under Pitt’s three operational postures or if the instructor has an underlying medical condition.

Pitt addressed those issues in the latest addition to the COVID-19 Standards and Guidelines webpage. The document also addresses Academic Student Support services, such as advising and tutoring.

Office hours

At the High-Risk posture, office hours, like almost everything else at the University, will be conducted remotely, but for the other two operational levels, faculty and students will be able to decide whether they meet in-person or remote for office hours.

Faculty can choose to have most meetings in-person, but they must offer a remote option for students who choose to not be on campus. Office hours should vary during the traditional workday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to accommodate students in different time zones, and may have to be outside those times for people in time zones drastically different that Pittsburgh’s Eastern Standard Times.

During any in-person meeting, faculty and students are expected to follow Pitt’s guidelines on shared spaces by limiting group sizes and contact time, along with maintaining social distance.

Academic student support

Guidance for student support services is very similar to those for office hours: all remote at the High-Risk level and remote or in-person at the other levels.

Supervisors with multiple staff members should determine if the unit will provide services in person or remotely, but each employee will have the option of requesting that their supervisor allow them to work remotely. These requests should be granted if at all possible. Students also can request to meet online.

For larger units, supervisors should stagger workdays and schedules for staff members working on-site, as much as possible. All social distancing and other guidelines for shared spaces will apply.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 412-648-4294.


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